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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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July 11, 2006


Kelly Trammel

What about capitalizing the second word of a hyphenated phrase, such as on the title line of a PowerPoint slide? Example: "How to Become a World-class Company". People I work with argue that the c in class should be capitalized, but I hold firm that it should not.


Kelly, your coworkers are correct. In a title, all the elements of a hyphenated expression are capitalized--except articles, short prepositions, and short conjunctions. Thus "World-Class" is correct, as would be "Up-to-Date," "Senator-Elect" and One-Sixth."

Thanks for asking. I had wondered myself but had not gotten around to confirming my guess.

By the way, my source is "The Gregg Reference Manual."


Rebekkah Kumar

Hi Lynn, I stumbled upon this blog while looking for insight on hyphenation for such commonly-used words as 'on-site' and 'off-shore' and 'on-demand" in my business writing. I want to thank you for clarifying both the rules as well as the evolution, because it's all too easy to find multiple excellent sources that present different rules of thumb.

I love the hip-hop! Thanks for making me smile!


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Rebekkah, I am glad you found the blog post helpful. You made me smile too.


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